This week's edition of "The 3" includes a developing story out of the Chattanooga area involving students' rights to freedom of religious expression, a silent witness to an ongoing tragedy, and how pro-life issues were treated in the recent markup of the health care reform bill in the U.S. Senate.
3 - Thousands stand together for life
This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the National Life Chain event, where people stand along roadways in cities across America to testify to the tragedy that is abortion. Some of the participants hold signs, others stand or kneel in prayer, still others show their support in a hushed reverence for passers-by to see. Some 1450 cities were expected to have Life Chain events in their communities. I have interviewed people along the Life Chain in Montgomery in years past, and I am struck by the power of this simple witness and the opportunity it presents for people to perhaps use this as an entry point for pro-life activity. The concept of the Life Chain event can be seen on its website at www.nationallifechain.org.
2 - Students display strength and solidarity
For years now, student supporters at the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School outside Chattanooga have made banners for the football team to run through that feature inspirational verses from the Bible. This practice has now been abruptly brought to a halt, thanks to one disgruntled parent bringing a complaint to the school system. The school superintendent, fearing a possible lawsuit, has banned the practice, which has resulted in an outpouring of support for these students' rights to free expression of religion. The Christian Post has provided some solid coverage of this developing religious liberties story.
1 - Health care markup brings setbacks, surprise
The version of the health care reform proposal before the Senate Finance Committee has been greeted with hundreds of amendments. A notable one, submitted by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, would prevent taxpayer funds from being used to finance abortion. Despite the claims of health care reform supporters that the bills do not fund abortion, pro-life lawmakers have been unable to get an amendment passed in either the House or Senate that would actually state this claim. Expert analysis has shown that indeed, based on the structure of the bill, abortion would be funded under current health care reform proposals. However, the committee did vote to fund abstinence education programs. Here is a press release from Concerned Women for America.
Also, in a development that could have dire implications, especially for the elderly, senators turned back an amendment that could have prevented the funding structure being used to deny life-saving treatment to certain individuals. Calling this structure a "death spiral", National Right to Life has been following this story.
So, there is plenty to watch in the health care debate, and this week, developments on the life issue have yielded mixed results.
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